Was Adam „good” before the Fall? Doug Wilson

Ask Doug: I am trying to understand what is meant by God calling Adam and Eve, His prized creation, „good.” Did that mean perfect? Did that mean sinless? If so, did they need Jesus before the fall? If not, what would you say they were? canonwired.com/featured/adam-good-pre-fall/ (Photo credit www.christianbookexpo.com)

They needed Jesus before the fall, they needed the grace of God before the fall, but, what they did not need was forgiveness, before the fall. Every creature depends upon the grace of God. Fallen creatures require a special form of grace, which is forgiveness, mercy, where God deals with our rebellion and forgives our sins.

What Adam and Eve were before the fall, I would describe as ‘they were in a probationary status’. They were sinless and they were good, but it was untested innocence. Had they passed the test that was given to them, and had refrained from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then they would have been settled, or established, or confirmed in their innocence, which I would describe as righteous. It was an untested innocence that moved into a mature tested righteousness.

God was giving them good gifts, and it was all the grace of God. It says in Luke that Jesus grew in grace. Well, Jesus experienced the goodness of God, the grace of God, but He never experienced the grace of God in forgiveness.

They (Adam & Eve) needed Jesus to pass the test, that they failed to pass. So, if Adam and Eve had said no to the serpent, and had refrained from eating from that tree, and they got through to the other side, here’s the thought experiment: would they have needed to say a little prayer of thanks, that they’ve been spared? I think, obviously, yes. They needed to trust God and obey God through that whole event. They didn’t and so they fell. Had they done so, they would have been sustained by the preserving grace of God. It still would have been unmerited favor, which is different than demerited favor.

A lot of our debates about the grace of God get gummed up because Christians are using the word grace maybe equivocally. Most of the time, we as sinners, experience grace as favor from God that we actively demerited. We behaved in such a way that what God gives us is mercy and grace. It is the very opposite of what we were insisting on getting.

Now, the instant before Adam had life breathed into him, when he was still dirt, he was dirt that had done nothing to earn or merit his coming life. It was unmerited life. So, the life that God breathed into him was unmerited, but it wasn’t demerited.


….when Adam spurned that grace, God gave him everything he needed for life and godliness. And when Adam spurned that and fell into sin, he actively demerited any continued goodness from God, but God continues His goodness anyways.

click on video to listen to the entire answer (conversation).

Ask Doug: Was Adam „good” before the Fall? from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Doug Wilson – Hardened by the Deceitfulness of Sin

In James 3, verses 12-13, it says that we should exhort one another daily, lest any of us be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. James thought that this was a more common problem among Christians than we tend to think. We say, „Oh yeah, yeah, we gossip too much and that’s a common problem, let’s move on to study something else.

(We tend to say)”But, I don’t think it is that big a problem. But, I do think ambition, self serving, and quarrels and tension in families, quarrels and tensions between husbands and wives, quarrels and tensions between coworkers, quarrels and tensions between people who profess the name of Christ, are common.” James says they’re common, and the author of Hebrews tells us to exhort one another DAILY. Exhort one another every day, lest they be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Christians get hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, and to guard against that they’ve got to do something every day. It’s not, „Oh, I’ve been converted 27 years ago, I learned a few valuable lessons, I’ve made a mental note of them, and I have been living normally ever since. That’s not how it works.

How does sin deceive you? Sin deceives you by making you think you’re wise in one sense, but you’re not wise in that sense at all. When you’re being deceived, you think you’re easily entreated, you think you’re peace loving, you think you’re pure, you think you’re doing that. But, it’s actually earthly, sensual, and devilish.

The deceitfulness of sin will totally skew your understanding of how God sees you, and it will totally skew your understanding of how your neighbor sees you. The deceitfulness of sin will withhold critical feedback information from you. You need to know. What would happen to you, if you all of a sudden lost all of your nerve endings? You couldn’t feel anything. Or, you might think, „This is great, I’ll never experience pain.” Well, you won’t experience pain, but, you will experience damage. And that’s because you’ll run into things, bump into things, cut yourself and not know. And after awhile you’re just gonna start falling apart. Because you are damaged, even though you are not feeling it.

When you’re hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, that’s what it’s like. Your hardening yourself to the nerve endings. When someone comes and tells you something that’s uncomfortable- whether it’s true or not- our reaction sometimes tells us: I’m gonna react because I don’t care if it’s true, I just care if it’s going to adversely affect me. If you’re doing that, you’re deadening your nerve endings. You’re hardening yourself. And that means you will feel no pain, you will not experience the pain, but you do experience the damage.

Because God wants you to understand yourself the way He understands you. He wants you to think His thoughts after Him, with regards to your story. He wants you to see your story, your relationships, your marriage, your relationships to your kids, your relationship to your neighbors, He wants you to see yourself accurately, the way it is. And, the only way you can see yourself that way is if the wisdom from above, if Jesus comes down and tells you the way it is. This is what you’re doing. This is how you talk to your wife and that’s not fruitful. This is how you snap at your kids, and that’s not fruitful. Wisdom from above can give you a lot of information, if you’re willing to hear it. But, if you’re not exhorted every day, if you’re being hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, it’s not happening.

Hardened by the Deceitfulness of Sin from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Sermon: Wisdom From Above #3 Text: Jam. 3:1-18 Sermon Date: 2.3.2013 #1709 Source Link: http://www.canonwired.com/featured/1709/ Sermon Clip

Doug Wilson – Understanding Temptation

The best explanation (and clearest illustration) I have heard on the difference between a trial and temptation from Doug Wilson.

If you like this video clip, you can watch the full sermon here – Sermon: Wisdom From Above – James 1:1-27

Doug Wilson, in the clip below:

I mentioned a moment ago that the Greek word for trial, and the word for temptation are the same word. They are the same word, with our distinction between them- a trial in english, a trial is not a temptation, a temptation is not a trial. But, we have words like this too, where they alter their meaning depending on the context. In the Greek of the New Testament you have that contextual difference. James tells us here, that we are to consider trials a joy, verse 2. But, he also says that temptations do not come from God, verse 13. Temptations don’t come from God, but, how am I supposed to consider it a joy, when it doesn’t come from Him. Well, it is from Him, but it’s not form Him in a simplistic way.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit, into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil- in Matthew 4:1. Now, why did the devil get at him in the wilderness? The devil got at Him in the wilderness because the Spirit let him into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. A few chapters later, Jesus teaches us to pray in the Lord’s prayer, with a request that our Father lead us not into temptation. Matthew 6:13. Who is doing what, here?

The same situation, the same scenario is a trial or a temptation based on the perspective of the one testing or luring. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for one reason. The devil went after Him in the wilderness for a completely different reason. There’s a difference between subjecting you to a particular trial. In the Lord’s prayer we’re told to ask not to be put in a trial or temptation that is too much for us. „Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God will do the same thing for us, His children, as He does for His Son, the Lord Jesus.

He puts us into difficulties, and He tells us through James to „count it all joy” when we have a difficulty coming up, when we have a trial coming up, knowing that the trial is form God. The temptation that occurs in the midst of that is NOT from God. The temptation that wells up in your heart, the sin that wells up in your heart, the resentment that wells up in your heart, the bad counsel and the advice from your friends that are saying, „You should be totally upset and offended by that.”  The suggestions that come from the devil, those are temptations. The trial itself is from God. The temptation is never from God.

This is another way of saying: In the difficulty, God wants you to stand. In the difficulty, God wants you to succeed. In the difficulty, God wants you to pass the course. He wants you to make it. He’s not trying to entice you into sin. He’s not trying to entice you into failure. But, it can be the same situation. A parent can be looking out the front window and they can see a neighborhood bully kid come up to their kid. In the front lawn, you  starting seeing something to heat up  and the wife says, „Let’s go out there now and stop it.” And the dad says something like, „No, it’s time. It’s time, let’s wait here.” And they watch. What are they doing? Are they tempting him? No, they don’t want their son to fail. But, they want to give their son an opportunity to succeed in the midst of difficulty. You see that? It’s different. The bully is tempting, the parents are testing. But, it’s the same situation. It’s the same scenario. And, everything is defined on what perspective or what vantage point you’re looking at it from.

Sermon Clip: Understanding Temptation from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

See the entire  43 minute sermon here – https://vimeo.com/57936636

Doug Wilson – The Nature of National Repentance

Another great sermon from Doug Wilson-

Sermon: The Nature of National Repentance Text: Deu. 26:6-9 Date: 11.18.2012

  • Secularism is a sin. Secularism got established by knocking off the true God for the sake of our neighbor.

REPENTANCE- We have to decide:

Whether to declare it and endure it. We may embrace what God sends to us because He is sovereign and He is good.

There are 3 stark realities before us:

  1. There is no deliverance without Jesus and Jesus must be named, declared and confessed.
  2. There is no deliverance with the sin. Repentance means dropping the sin, letting go of the sin
  3. There are no alternatives. Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve.

Source Link: canonwired.com

Sermon: The Nature of National Repentance from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Doug Wilson – How to pray and beseech God

September 9, 2012 Text: Psalm 70 Doug Wilson (the first 5 minutes of 45 min message):

There are two and only two fundamental approaches to God in the world. There are two and only two conceptions of God in the world:

  1. One is: God is God and we are not. God is the center of all things.
  2. And the other is: God on the side, God somewhere on the side to help me if I need help. But, I am fundamentally god. I am the fundamental center of all things and He comes around to help or not, at different times. I am the center of the solar system and everything revolves around me

So there are 2 fundamental conceptions of God. One sees the Lord God almighty high and lifted up. The other might be called the domestic animal approach to God, where the ostensible worshipper keeps ‘a god’ on hand the way you might keep a cow for the milk. God is worked, god is the cosmic vending machine in the sky. God is there in order to help you out, that’s his job. He is god in heaven, god on tap.

Now, I am speaking in an obviously disrespectful way- domestic animal approach to keeping god, keeping god for the milk, a vending machine god, god on tap. That’s all disrespectful. That’s disrespectful in how it’s phrased. But, there are people who refuses to phrase it that way who still function that way.

We know from the Bible that God is God altogether. God is God through and through. It’s not a little bit of God here and a little bit of God there. All of God is everywhere, all of God is all of God. That which is true of God is true of all of Him. Now, we know, as christians who want to pursue God centered worship, we know that’s a good phrase. God centered worship is better than man centered worship. But, there’s a way of formulating God centered worship which is at the heart (down in secret places) still man centered worship.

So we know that we want to worship God high and lifted up, but, we don’t know what to do. Once we’ve got that fixed in our minds, we don’t know what to do when the Lord high and lifted up tells us to tell Him to do things; when God, the ultimate God tells us to approach Him and give Him no rest until He answers our prayer. When that God tells us to ask for something, we don’t quite know what to do. We act like Ahaz, and in the name of a high view of God refuse to obey Him.

The prophet Isaiah says, „Ask whatever sign you want,” and he says, „I’m not gonna do that… not me, I don’t wanna be disrespectful.”  Look, the almighty God has just sent a prophet to tell you what to do and you’re saying: No, because I’ve got a too high view of God. That’s the Ahaz approach. Ahaz’s approach is an approach that pretends to a high view of God, but it really isn’t. What we are doing is we’re taking refuge in certain piety, certain expressions, certain confessional expressions and our christian life is not vibrant and alive. We don’t have an ongoing functional relationship with God that’s in accordance with how God describes it, how God invites us to approach Him.

In this psalm, Psalm 70, this psalm is basically a section of Psalm 40. This psalm is a shorter version or a portion of Psalm 40.. with some changes (Yahweh for Elohim, for example). The psalmist is in trouble, as he frequently is and he cries out to God in his trouble. Some of us might think, „I think David is doing this on purpose. I think David, maybe needs to get into an anger management class or a relationship class.” David doesn’t need to do anything other than pursue God, pursue God and then, lo and behold, what happens is opposition. If someone is sold out to God in this world he will have adversaries, he will have trouble. He will have this sort of trouble.

So, the psalmist is in trouble, he frequently is in trouble, he beseeches God to get a move on. Verse 1: Hurry up God. Now, not only does he want God to come quickly. He knows what he wants God to do when God arrives. He wants God to show up and shame and confound the adversaries of his soul. (first 5 minutes of message)

On Telling God to Hurry Up

Sermon: On Telling God to Hurry Up from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Doug Wilson – Religious Freedom and the First Amendment

Doug Wilson is pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, theologian and author of several dozen books, and has also debated Christopher Hitchens throughout the United States. the following are notes from 2 clips and just the 3rd clip by itself from his sermon October 7th, 2012 which was designated Pulpit Sunday throughout the United States:

So what do we say to secularists? What do we say to these men who do not want this risen Jesus to rule over them?

We say: We say that Christ had died. Christ was buried. We say that Christ was risen and we add, „There is nothing whatever that you can do about it now. You can’t undo it. If you didn’t want Him to rise from the dead you should have thought about that before you killed Him. You should have thought about that before you crucified Him.

Paul says, „This was not done in a corner. Hundreds of people saw the resurrection. Jesus was crucified in the public square. If you don’t want Jesus to be the Lord over the public square, you should have thought about that before you crucified Him in the public square. Because, when He went in the ground, He came back from the dead, and He came back from the dead in public.

And then He gathered His disciples who had been discouraged and they were despondent. They were hiding in the upper room. He gathered them all up together and he gathered them up on a mountain and He said, „Go. Tell everybody. Even the Americans… especially the Americans… because they’re gonna get above themselves. They’re gonna think they’ve got this zone of neutrality. They’re gonna think that they’ve got this thing going. They’ve got this secular vibe going. Tell all the nations, every nation, every tribe, every language group, every people group, tell every last one of them that they have been purchased with my blood . They don’t belong to them selves anymore and moreover they cannot belong to themselves anymore. It’s done. Jesus rose and there’s nothing whatever that can be done about it. Glory to God. (SEE VIDEO clip HERE)

Religious Freedom and the First Amendment

Sermon Clip: Religious Freedom and the First Amendment from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

My notes from Religious freedom & the 1st amendment – Doug Wilson: We believe that all kings and all presidents, we believe that all Congresses, all parliaments, every assembly of men have a moral and a true obligation to bow down and kiss the Son, lest He be angry with them. Psalm 2:12 We believe that Jesus told us, our marching orders were to disciple all the nations of men, teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded. That’s in Matthew 28:18-20. Now, if Jesus says to disciple all the nations, if He says to baptize them, if He says to teach them to obey everything I’ve commanded you- that includes our nation.

Jesus didn’t say this about all the nations, excepts ones that have a first amendment- falsely interpreted. The first amendment does not require Americans to be religiously neutral. If it did, then the Bible would require us to ignore the first amendment…. In a federal system like ours, it doesn’t cause any problems at all if the national bird is the bald eagle and the state bird of Maryland is the Oriole, and different states have different birds. You can have a national flower and a state flower and nobody gets worked up. But, if you have a particular denomination of Christians that’s the established church of Virginia, and another one that’s the established church of Connecticut, and another one that’s the established church of Pennsylvania (let’s say), if you have different established churches and then you create a church of the United States- a national church over the whole shebang, you’re setting the stage for religious conflict.

When the constitution was adopted, 9 of the 13 colonies had established christian churches  at the state level. 9 of the 13 colonies that approved the constitution had established christian churches at the state level. 9 of 13. The constitution did not prohibit the states from acknowledging the fact that Jesus was Lord.  ( of the 13 did acknowledge that Jesus was Lord when the constitution was adopted. They said, in the first amendment: Congress shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion. Congress is the only entity that can violate the first amendment…. And they can violate it by establishing a church of the United States, like there’s a Church of Denmark, and there’s a Church of England. They could violate it by doing that.

They could also violate the first amendment by prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Which they did in 1954, when they passed the Johnson amendment saying: You can’t say this from a christian pulpit.  You can’t say that from a christian pulpit. Somebody’s gonna say, „You’re getting into politics in the pulpit, you’re violating the first amendment.” No, no. Congress is the only entity that can violate the first amendment and Congress has in fact done so repeatedly, over and over again. And, christians, like so many sheep have just followed along and bah. Now, we are sheep and we are supposed to follow along and we are supposed to bah, but, we’re supposed to follow the shepherd, not these people.

Now, this charge that Jesus gave in the great commission to disciple all the nations includes America… We are not secularists with a tiny christian corner in our hearts. We are christians in public, and we are christians in private, with no authorized secular corner in our hearts (that’s compromise)…

…We are christians all the way in… we are christians all the way out. And there are many christians who have compromised themselves by saying, „Caesar can have all the public stuff and I’m gonna keep ‘little devotional cubby’ in the recesses of my heart.” Jesus doesn’t want your devotional cubby, He doesn’t want your little niche, where you go and pray to Jesus, in that little spot. That makes Jesus a sort of limited, finite, household god. He doesn’t wanna be a household god in your heart. He doesn’t wanna be a local Baal. He is the one who rose from the dead and claimed universal dominion over all things.

Who is Being Extreme?

Sermon Clip: Who is Being Extreme? from Canon Wired on Vimeo.


Psalm 69 – Doug Wilson

Doug Wilson’s sermon from Psalm 69 – among other points, it includes an analysis of why Judas betrayed Jesus and commentary on Jesus as ‘hell fire preacher’. Read more of my notes from Doug Wilson’s sermon below this video (international readers you can use google translater widget at the top right of the page). However, the best way is to watch the video for the entire message. Here’s a brief  excerpt from Wilson’s conclusion:

External religion – Sinners like to put on a show for God

External religion- how you set up the chairs, how you preach, how you do the liturgy, the music, all the things that we do out here, all those things are things that we can do better or worse. We can do them and we can feel that we have some sort of control in them. And, if we’re in better control of those things than that church down the road- if our doctrine is sounder, if our liturgy (our scripture reading) is more beautiful, if our music is more stupendous, we can feel like we’ve got something with handles that we can take pride in. And a certain kind of heart, an unconverted heart, a carnal heart latches on to those externals. Which is why the Bible tells us over and over and over again that God looks on the heart.

Now Jesus, when He talked about the pharisees who washed the outside of the cup- Jesus said, ‘Wash the inside of the cup’. If you wash the inside of a cup in such a way, the outside’s gonna get clean.

So why does God say, ‘I prefer this more than that?’ Because sinners would much rather have that than this. Sinners like to divide it and sinners like to pick the external. Sinners like to put on a show for God. We like to pretend that the doctrine of omniscience is not true. We like to pretend that God sees our outsides- God sees us singing, God sees us going through an open hymnal, God sees us with an open Bible, and, it makes us uncomfortable to know that God sees us with an open heart.

So, why? Because there is a natural predisposition on the part of sinful man to be religious.

Sermon: What Makes the Humble Glad | Psalm 69 (Douglas Wilson) from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Some (of my) notes from sermon:

  • The wisdom of God found in Scripture is not just offensive to the carnal heart here and there, it is offensive to the carnal heart across the board and we’re gonna see a number of instances of this truth, this reality in this Psalm (Psalm 69)
  1. The first section of the Psalm is verses 1-4 and the psalmist is laying out his complaint for the Lord. He’s in trouble, he’s telling the Lord he’s in trouble, he’s telling the Lord he is sunk down in the mire; he needs deliverance. His enemies are numerous; this is a particular kind of affliction. We live in a fallen world, this applies to all sorts of affliction. But, this particular affliction the psalmist is going through is brought about by enemies, by adversaries, brought about by those who despise him.
  2. Verses 5-12: The thing that got him into trouble in the first place was the zeal that he had for the house of God. All of it is for God’s sake. We see in verse 5 that he is a sinner, in v. 5, we know he is not perfect. But the reason for the pushback is his righteousness, not his sinfulness.
  3. In the third section the psalmist is pleading for help, in verses 13-21 he is beseeching God for help. Reproach is what has broken his heart, it is the people coming after him and some of the people coming after him knew better, (they) understood that what they were saying was false.
  4. In the next section he calls for justice to be meted out against his adversaries, verses 22-28 he’s calling out for justice. The wrath of God is real in both testaments (vv. 24-25).
  5. In the last section in the psalm, he returns to his petitions and he anticipates, by faith, a positive response (v. 33). The Lord prefers true heart thanksgiving to external rituals.

This psalm has a number of anchor points. We need to pay close attention as to how the New Testament quotes the Old Testament.  What was Jesus’s favorite book? You could argue that Jesus’s favorite book was Deuteronomy. Why isn’t it our favorite book? We should let Jesus and the apostles point us to what we should be learning from and resorting to. The favorite books of the New Testament writers and Jesus were

  • Genesis
  • Isaiah
  • Psalms
  • Deuteronomy

This Psalm (69) has at least 4 quotations in the New Testament- and we learn quite a bit about this Psalm from the NT.

  1. We learn this Psalm is Messianic. It is about the Messiah. I would like to argue on another level that all the Psalms are about the Messiah, but some, explicitly so. At the same time, David’s life is a type. David’s life is a lived out prophecy and Jesus is the son of David. The difference between them is Jesus is sinless and His father David is not. So David is a type of the antitype who is Jesus, but you have to factor out certain things. One of the things you have to factor out is the sin. So, David is a fallen sinner. David stumbles, Jesus never does. At the same time there are a number of things that are true of both the type and the antitype. So, not every detail in the psalm is fulfilled in the life of the Messiah, but, much of it is. Jesus quotes verse 4 ‘They that hate Me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head‘. He expressly applies this psalm to Himself in John 15:25The same phrase is found in Psalm 35:19 If God knows the number of hairs on your head, and the enemies are the same as the hairs on your head, then God knows the number of your enemies.
  2. The first part of verse 9 is quoted as something that the disciples recalled after Jesus cleansed the temple. In the Gospel of John 2:17 the disciples remembered after Jesus cleansed the temple, „Zeal for your house is consuming”. The reason Jesus cleansed the temple is because Psalm 69 gave this pattern: Zeal for God’s house consumed Christ and so he cleansed the temple.
  3. The second half of verse 9 is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3 and he applies it in another way to Christ. It says, ‘For even Christ pleased not Himself, but, as it is written- the reproaches of them that reproach thee fell on me’. That is referring to Jesus. What happened to David in a type, happened to Jesus in total fulfillment.
  4. The last 2 quotations – one is where David starts cursing his enemies. But, he is not cursing in his own authority. The difference between an autonomous, sinful curing is when you set your self up in your own name, to curse other people. You don’t have the authority to do that. When you relegate it, turn it over to God and ask God to do this, you’re inviting God’s judgement and it entails you in the judgement as well. If you’re asking God to do this unjustly, then God is not going to fulfill that curse and He’s going to chastise you instead. So, when Paul says in Galatians, „‘f we, or another angel from heaven preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed’, he’s committing it to God. This is a christian way of cursing. So, Paul, in Romans is talking about Israel having been closed off in unbelief. And he applies vv 22-23 to the judicial blindness and unbelief that had afflicted the Jewish nation at that time. And since that time, as Paul teaches, also in Romans 11, which affliction, which judicial blindness will one day be removed. But, in romans 11:9-10 we see that this judicial blindness is visited upon the Jews. We should note: The illusion in vinegar given as a drink, in verse 21, and we find in verse 25 cited in Acts 1:20, when Peter was explaining the fate of Judas. This would seem to entail Judas in the same kind of judicial blindness that had overtaken the jewish nation as a whole. So, in the earlier verses, the whole jewish nation was blinded as to the identity of the Messiah, or how the messiah was going to work.

Judicial blindness and Judas

And, it appears that Judas was caught up in that same kind of problem. Judas was not the universal sneak. He was not a character that was contextless. He was not a man without a nation. He was not a man without a background. He was not a man without political opinions. He was not a man without agendas. He wasn’t just a villain dropped into a story so that we might have someone to betray Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus for a reason. Now, we don’t have this laid out explicitly, so we shouldn’t call it anything more than educated speculation. But, Judas realized these things we know from the Bible. Judas had seen the power of Jesus. He, Judas himself had cast out demons. When Jesus sends the disciples out, they all do what Jesus had commissioned them to do. Judas himself has cast out demons and it’s interesting that later Satan himself enters Judas. Judas had healed the sick himself. He saw Jesus walk on water, he saw Jesus feed the multitudes, he saw Lazarus come out of the grave. Judas knew Jesus was powerful. Judas knew that Jesus was blessed by God, the spirit of God was on Him. Jesus did remarkable things and Judas had front row seats. Combine all this with the fact that Judas knew Jesus was not going to fight the Romans, He was going to go to the cross. As soon as Judas sees that Jesus was condemned, he returns the money; he throws the money down and goes and hangs himself.

Now, why hang yourself if Judas’s intent was to betray Jesus and ‘let’s see Him get what’s coming to Him?’ If that was his (Judas’s) motive, why hang himself when the plot succeeded? Something else is going on. What was his motivation? I believe the only narrative that makes sense with the background of Psalm 69 is that Judas was trying to force Jesus’s hand. He was trying to make Jesus exercise His power in a particular way that would expel the Romans. He was trying to force Him, paint Him into a corner so that Jesus would have to do what He inexplicably wasn’t doing. Jesus has all this power. The Romans, the tyrants are here. We’re under this judgment. This evil pagans are here and Jesus can raise the dead, Jesus can walk on water for crying out loud, why isn’t He doing something about the Romans. Anybody, with any kind of sense would see that you have to do something about the Romans.

Now, part of the reason Judas was judicially blinded is not just the reason that he shared the assumptions that the jews of his era had about the Messiah. This was a common cultural assumption: When the Messiah comes He will expel the Romans. Jesus is clearly the Messiah, Judas knew and so He needs to expel the Romans, that’s what He has to do. And He’s not doing it, so let’s give Him a little encouragement, let’s put Him into a corner where He will surely reveal His power, He will surely rise up. But then, the Messiah is like a sheep that goes silently to the slaughter and Judas doesn’t get it. It’s inexplicable.

Personal motives- This is not just external cultural blindness that the whole jewish nation had. We also learn in John 12:6 that Judas was covetous- which also links to- if Jesus expels the Romans and we have a new Israel, I’m probably going to get a choice cabinet spot, I’m probably gonna be the secretary of the treasury and it’s not gonna be this little purse I’m carrying around with this itinerary preacher, but I’m gonna be in an important place , then I can really take advantage of that. John 12 tells us that Judas used to help himself to the money that was in the account of the disciples, Jesus and His band. So, we have personal motives for thinking the way he did.

Jesus as hell fire preacher 

There’s a glib assumption among many christians on this- yet, the curses of the OT are not eradicated with the NT. They are not erased by the Gospel, they are fulfilled in the arrival of the Gospel. Away with the notion that the OT God had problems and somewhere between Maleachi and Matthew He’s not angry anymore. No, these implications are fulfilled in the NT. Not only so, but, they are fulfilled in terrible ways. Damnation is a horrible reality and the hell fire damnation preacher of the entire Bible is the Lord Jesus. If you go from beginning to end (of the Bible) the hell fire preacher is the Lord Jesus. People like to think that Jesus was the original flower child preaching a simple message of love and peace and then He ran afoul of the authorities, because that’s what preaching peace and love will get you. And then, the apostle Paul comes along with his message of condemnation and all his severities and he somehow wrecks the pristine christianity. The problem with that is the apostle Paul never mentions hell once by name, in all of his letters. Jesus talks about it regularly. Jesus is the ‘hell fire, damnation’ preacher. People like to pretend that the God off the Old Testament was basically a God of wrath and the God of the New Testament is a God of love.

Where do we get this idea that flies in the face of the data? We get this idea because it’s flattering to us. We don’t like the idea of a final judgment, we don’t like the idea of God coming down and looking at our lives and being the kind of God who knows the hairs on our head and as it says in Psalms: If God were to mark iniquities, who could stand? So, if God is going to hold us in judgment  and is going to be severe, we NEED a SAVIOR! Well, mysteriously, wonderfully, there is a Savior presented, but we can’t avail ourselves of that Savior until we know the problem. We’re not gonna take the medication until we know that we’re sick and we’re not able to apply the solution until we understand the problem.

David resolves to give thanks to God with a Psalm

He calls down curses from God, he asks God to judge and then he gives thanks to God with a song (v 30). He then makes a comparison which lies at the heart of all evangelical religion. This is something the Bible does over and over and over again and does it for a reason. „I desire mercy and not sacrifices”, it says in Hosea. „To obey is better than sacrifice”, Samuel tells Saul. „Sacrifices and burnt offerings You do no require, but a humble and contrite heart”, we learn elsewhere in the Psalms. We have the same comparison here. David sets a thankful heart over against the external ritual ‘conformity’ to the sacrificial laws of God (v. 31). In v. 30- „I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad.”

What makes humble hearts glad

This reality makes humble hearts glad. What makes humble hearts glad? To see heart religion preferred over externals. The sacrifices he’s talking about were  required by God. But God gives us the whole book (Bible), He gives us the whole world view and he expects us to respond to Him in faith and when our hearts are humble, we see that God prefers  heart religion to external religion.

Why is this contrast set up at all? Why does the Bible do this repeatedly? The reason is that there’s a kind of person out there who latches on o the external requirements that God gives us and he manipulates those externals in a way that is conducive to their pride. When something comes along that topples that pride, that is what makes humility rejoice.

External religion – Sinners like to put on a show for God

External religion- how you set up the chairs, how you preach, how you do the liturgy, the music, all the things that we do out here, all those things are things that we can do better or worse. We can do them and we can feel that we have some sort of control in them. And, if we’re in better control of those things than that church down the road- if our doctrine is sounder, if our liturgy (our scripture reading) is more beautiful, if our music is more stupendous, we can feel like we’ve got something with handles that we can take pride in. And a certain kind of heart, an unconverted heart, a carnal heart latches on to those externals. Which is why the Bible tells us over and over and over again that God looks on the heart.

Now Jesus, when He talked about the pharisees who washed the outside of the cup- Jesus said, ‘Wash the inside of the cup’. If you wash the inside of a cup in such a way, the outside’s gonna get clean.

So why does God say, ‘I prefer this more than that?’ Because sinners would much rather have that than this. Sinners like to divide it and sinners like to pick the external. Sinners like to put on a show for God. We like to pretend that the doctrine of omniscience is not true. We like to pretend that God sees our outsides- God sees us singing, God sees us going through an open hymnal, God sees us with an open Bible, and, it makes us uncomfortable to know that God sees us with an open heart.

So, why? Because there is a natural predisposition on the part of sinful man to be religious. Unconverted men love religion. You do not have a system where you’ve got christians over here and a bunch of atheists out there. Atheism is not usually the way men go. Men are religious. There’s true religion and false religion. And, even atheism veers into externals. They try to have some sort of ethical system. They try to have religiosity of some sort, even with an overt denial of God. But, most men don’t do that, they’re just very, very religious.

External religion is a sin. And when God works among men and when he establishes His true religion, our temptation is to go out to the pagans, get their attitude towards externals and import it to the church. We must have an external embodiment. We’re external, not just bodies and souls. We come here to a place and we sing and we hear, and we do things. We have to have an external manifestation of our faith. But, we must be constantly reminded that God prefers this to that, because untended we prefer that to this.

But, we can’t do it unless God provides something, unless God’s at work. And, this is why we must remember: Christ is not powerful to save you if you repent or if you do something. Christ is powerful to give you repentance. Christ is the one who does it. God gives repentance, God gives faith. When God moves… you see the beauty of the Christian faith. You see the beauty of the one true religion: God saves sinners. Which is very, very different than sinners preparing themselves to be saved. When the initiative lies with us: God will do this if you prepare your heart, or if you go through these motions. The sentence begins: …but God intervenes… but God sent His Son… but God gave repentance… If God gives Jesus to die on the cross, to be buried and come back from the dead so that you can be put right and He’s the one that put you right, using that means, that’s good news. But God, is good news. But I, is bad news. But I, is false Gospel.

Unbelief Thinks God Can Be Gamed

You think you can come to church on the outside, and sing the hymn on the outside, and listen to the sermon on the outside, and have your heart far from Him. The Scripture talks about this problem- with their lips they approach Him, but, their hearts are far from Him.  THAT IS WHAT UNBELIEF DOES.

Unbelief submits to God externally; there is an unbelief that rebels against Him, defies Him. But, through various circumstances that unbelief is brought to church, that unbelief is somehow baptized, that unbelief is somehow brought into the domain of the church and is under the discipline of Christ. That form of unbelief lies to Christ, pretends to submit to Him, but is lying to Him. This unbelief feels that God can be worked, God can be gamed.

As Spurgeon said, „If you are listening to the devil don’t expect God to listen to you”. If you are listening to the devil, even if it’s the devils whispering, don’t expect God to listen to you, even if you’re shouting.If you’re loudly proclaiming to God that you love Him and serve Him, you praise Him, but you’re listening to the devil whispering and you’ve got a secret channel communication set up, don’t expect God to hear you.

The psalmist says it very plainly, „If I regard iniquity in my heart, if I’ve got a privileged place in my heart for iniquity, then don’t expect God to hear your prayer.”

Now, you may say, all of us stumble in many ways, you talked about us all having dross that has to be removed, none of us has arrived, we’re not at the day of the resurrection yet. Don’t we all have iniquity in our heart? The answer is yes, that’s true. We all  have remaining sinfulness in our hearts, but notice the psalmist doesn’t say , „I have iniquity in my heart, he’s assuming that we do.” He says here, „If I regard iniquity in my heart”, not „if I have sinned”. He’s saying, „If I regard sin, if I’m renting out a ‘room to sin’ in my heart, I would say- you could have this part of my heart, you can have this part of my life, of my soul, of my emotional piece”, you’re in effect saying to God, „You cannot have this piece”.  That’s what it means to regard iniquity in your heart.

If God were to mark iniquities as it says in another psalm- Who could stand? I am not talking here about absolute perfection. I am talking about silver ore that is willing to get in the furnace. If the whole thing is surrender to God in principle, the silver ore has dross in it. You don’t have to be perfect to begin the process. Of course we are imperfect, of course we sin, of course we have iniquities and things we struggle with. There’s a reason why at the beginning of our service we get on our knees and confess our sins. But, YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO COME HERE (church) REGARDING INIQUITY IN YOUR HEART.

That iniquity in your heart must not be a treasured possession. It must not be the sort of thing (about which) you say, „God, anything but this. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll go here, I’ll go there, I’ll sing this, I’ll say that, but you can’t have this lust. You can’t have this bitterness. You can’t take away this pettiness. You can’t take away this form of self centeredness”. That’s regarding iniquity in your heart.

Unbelief Thinks God Can Be Gamed from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Preaching with elevated vagueness

According to an article on Patheos SPURGEON liked to quote this about vague preachers:

The classic evangelical take-down of Robertson’s overblown reputation is the line: “Robertson believed that Christ did something or other, which, somehow or other, had some connexion or other with salvation.” Spurgeon didn’t coin that one, but he loved to quote it.

JOHN PIPER exhorting preachers to be crystal clear in their preaching:

It was in a tweet by Fred Sanders linking to his article about F. W. Robertson, a 19th century British preacher. Even before I read the article I could smell the rot. Robertson, it has been discovered, was covering his sexual affair in private while covering the truth in the pulpit.

That is not surprising. There is a connection between skilled vagueness and concealed immorality. Why else would a man use great gifts to make things unclear unless he was afraid of clarity? And fear of clarity in preaching is a good sign that something besides doctrine is being concealed.

This is not new. And the reason I call attention to Sanders’ article is because I want to plead with pastors to be crystal clear in their preaching, and surgically clean in their private lives. Read the entire John Piper article here-

Fred Sanders in his article- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/scriptorium/2010/08/f-w-robertsons-life-and-death/

In the last few years, new light has been shed on Robertson’s personal life. Investigators have discovered Robertson’s private journal from the year 1849. He made his entries in a code that protected its contents from those who shared his household, but is no barrier to later scholars. What’s in the journal? No surprise: extramarital sex. The entry for October 1, 1849: “Four hours in bed with Augusta.” Mrs. Robertson’s name was Ellen, and the name of Augusta’s husband (she had one) is not recorded.

Sanders also quotes Doug Wilson:

Doug Wilson once described the connection between pastoral sin and vague preaching, in a blog post titled “Porn as Liturgical Corruption:”

when men preach wiggle room they often find that other men will frequently like the look of that wiggle room…. This creates a cycle — the minister is being pushed to compromise from within, and once he begins preaching more tolerant (and therefore more tolerable) sermons, he begins to be pulled. He has presented handles to those who would pull him. And so the lie about Jesus that he has allowed to take root in his heart is a lie that works its way into his manuscript. And from there into other hearts.

Read the entire Fred Sanders article here-  http://www.patheos.com

Read the Doug Wilson article here – http://www.dougwils.com/Sex-and-Culture/Porn-as-Liturgical-Corruption.html

Douglas Wilson – Father Hunger (60 minutes)

Douglas James Wilson is a conservative Reformed and evangelical theologian, pastor at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, faculty member at New Saint Andrews College, and prolific author and speake

from May 6, 2012 by Canon Wired on Vimeo – https://vimeo.com/43531290
Father Hunger I

Father Hunger II

Shut up, Christian

The World Hates the Disciples – John 15:18-25

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[a] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.

Doug WIlson, a Presbyterian Minister lecturing, or trying to deliver a lecture at Indiana University. A group of students shouted him down and shouted slogans such as: we respect free speech, but this (a christian lecture) is hate speech, so get off our campus…  and the f words flying at the end. Who is really demonstrating the hate and the intolerance?

Published on May 8, 2012 by  See more at: http://www.wretchedradio.com

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